International Nurses Day – 12th May

International Nurses Day – 12th May

International Nurses Day is celebrated on 12 May every year to laud nurses around the globe. In particular, those managing an unprecedented workload by treating patients with COVID-19 while also maintaining other essential health services. On this day we celebrate the hard work and contributions of our nurses by exploring some of their daily challenges and what can be done to help.

The theme for the 2023 is Our Nurses. Our Future.


International Nurses Day marks the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. Known as the ‘Lady with the Lamp,‘ and considered as the founder of modern nursing, she still stands as an example of the importance of the profession today. The English nurse became known as the founder of professional nursing, especially due to her pioneering work during the Crimean War (1853-1856).

Nightingale was born in Florence, Italy, to British parents who named her after the city where they had traveled on an extended holiday before and after she was born. Her wealthy upbringing meant that she was expected to marry at a young age and become a lady of stature, but Nightingale had other ideas

She was more interested in helping the ill and poor in the villages surrounding her family’s large estate. By the age of 16, she told her parents that nursing was her calling from God. She rejected a marriage proposal and instead set her sights on nursing school.

Nightingale devoted most of her life to preventing disease and providing compassionate care to patients of all backgrounds, even while she was often sick herself. International Nurses Day has been celebrated on her birthday, May 12, since 1965. After dark, she carried a lamp while making her rounds, earning her the name, “the Lady with the Lamp.”

Nightingale became an admired figure worldwide. Young women of all classes wanted to follow in her footsteps, and nursing grew to be considered an honorable occupation.

In fact, the World Health Organization designated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife – the year that happens to be the 200th anniversary of her birth.

Nurses Week

National Nurses Week is an event to mark the contributions of all the nurses in the world that keep the frontline of healthcare running. Beginning on May 6 and culminating on International Nurses Day (May 12), Nurses Week was created and advocated by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) as early as 1953 and has been celebrated regularly since 1965. We celebrate the history of nursing and nurses of all kinds and the essential, life-saving work that they perform.

Ways To Celebrate International Nurses Day

  • The most common tradition for expressing gratitude to registered nurses is throwing them a party — inclusive of all shifts, but this year due to pandemic everything should be done with care.

  • Send flowers – Send a bunch of flowers to the Nurses’ Station.

  • Write personal notes of appreciation.

  • Send a Gift of spas or restaurants.

  • Educate yourself about Florence Nightingale’s role in being a nursing pioneer.

  • Spread the word about International Nurses Day on social media using the hashtag #InternationalNursesDay.

We would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all the nurses and nursing staff. This year especially, the words “thank you” seem to fall far short of how we feel. The current global health crisis showcases the critical work that nurses undertake every day.

Suggested Read: Important Days In May

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Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj is the Founder and Administrator of Ritiriwaz, your one-stop guide to Indian Culture and Tradition. She had a passion for writing about India's lifestyle, culture, tradition, travel, and is trying to cover all Indian Cultural aspects of Daily Life.